The Business of Fashion Podcast
Rethinking Fashion’s Approach to the Plus-Size Market

Rethinking Fashion’s Approach to the Plus-Size Market

May 4, 2021

Fashion brands are upping marketing rhetoric and imagery to include a wider range of body types, but many companies are still failing to serve the plus-size consumer.

The market for plus-size fashion is worth nearly $30 billion in the US alone. But while brands are upping marketing rhetoric and imagery to include a wider range of body types, many companies are still failing to serve the plus-size consumer.

In the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, chief correspondent Lauren Sherman speaks with Marie Denee, creator and editor-in-chief of The Curvy Fashionista, Alexandra Waldman, co-founder and creative director of Universal Standard and BoF’s senior editorial associate Alexandra Mondalek about the right way to do plus-size fashion.

  • Plus-size customers want one thing: choice. But too often they’re left sifting through limited ranges that reflect a narrow view of how they should dress. “Give us the same assortment,” Denee said, adding that brands must unlearn tropes about what the industry can offer plus-size consumers.

  • Lazy marketing that co-opts the language of body positivity without really serving plus-size shoppers is also a problem. “We have to learn to speak to a consumer that has been not just ignored, but belittled… it’s an emotional minefield,” said Waldman. “Body positivity is a personal journey.”

  • Companies need to invest in plus-size ranges too, taking the time and spending the cash to perfect fit, style and branding. “You have got to be led by the change and not the money,” explains Waldman.

Related Articles:

What Fashion Can’t Seem to Get Right About the Plus-Size Market

Unravelling the Plus-Size Problem

How to Make Your Brand Size-Inclusive

 

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Shelly Verthime on Alber Elbaz’s Fashion Dreams

Shelly Verthime on Alber Elbaz’s Fashion Dreams

April 30, 2021

The designer’s teacher turned close collaborator and friend, reflects on how Elbaz communicated his fashion dreams to the world.

Lessons for the Fashion Industry From Alber Elbaz’s Talk at VOICES 2018

Lessons for the Fashion Industry From Alber Elbaz’s Talk at VOICES 2018

April 27, 2021

The late designer shared his musings, wisdom and advice for the fashion industry in a talk at BoF VOICES in 2018.

In Search of Transparency: Fashion’s Data Problem

In Search of Transparency: Fashion’s Data Problem

April 23, 2021

Fashion is a notoriously opaque industry. That’s a big problem when the industry is focusing on reducing its negative environmental and social impact.

Devising a New Social Contract for Fashion’s Garment Workers

Devising a New Social Contract for Fashion’s Garment Workers

April 20, 2021

Fashion has routinely failed the millions of people who make its clothes. What should the industry do to create systemic change?

Stella McCartney on the Business of Sustainable Design

Stella McCartney on the Business of Sustainable Design

April 16, 2021

The pioneering designer spoke to BoF’s Imran Amed about continuing to push the envelope for sustainable luxury at the BoF Professional Summit: Closing Fashion’s Sustainability Gap.

The New Model for Building DTC Brands

The New Model for Building DTC Brands

April 13, 2021

A new generation of direct-to-consumer brands like Topicals and Parade are finding success with a powerful community-based approach to marketing.

10 Retail Archetypes for the Post-Pandemic Era

10 Retail Archetypes for the Post-Pandemic Era

April 9, 2021

As retail stores begin to re-open this summer after a year of lockdown, Doug Stephens shares strategies for post-pandemic success from his new book, Resurrecting Retail.

 

Retail’s Darwinian shakeout over the last year has consolidated market power in the hands of dominant e-commerce players. But a brand, even if small, can still be mighty. The key is focus and finding a relevant niche, Doug Stephens said at VOICES 2020, previewing his new book, Resurrecting Retail, out on April 13.”

In the post-pandemic retail era, purpose will be the new positioning,” Stephens said. “What will be your brand’s reason for existing?” he asked.Stephens outlines 10 reasons why retail should exist in 2021 and beyond, from product education to activism.

  • “I see Covid-19 not as a mere accelerator, I see it as a threshold,” said Stephens. “As a unique wormhole in time where society as a whole is being pulled out of the industrial era and across the threshold of the digital age.” Though 2020 was challenging for a lot of retail companies, it has made the big ones like Amazon, Alibaba, JD.com and Walmart even stronger and better prepared to capture more of the global retail economy.

  • Brands must think about purpose: what is the question your brand answers? Companies that succeed in the marketplace do this well. “When we buy Nike products, we’re buying a cultural point of view, and Nike answers a very specific consumer question. The question, of course, is ‘Who inspires me?’” Stephens said.

  • In the post-pandemic world, the media will no longer be just the message. “Every form of media now, that the consumer has exposure to, is no longer simply a call out to go to the store,” Stephens said. “Every form of media must be the store.”

 

Related Articles:

Take a Look Inside The Post-Pandemic Store

The New Rules of Brick-and-Mortar Retail

Tapping Into the Future of Physical Retail

 

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Rethinking the Fashion Rental Model for the Post-Pandemic Era

Rethinking the Fashion Rental Model for the Post-Pandemic Era

April 6, 2021

Rent the Runway chief executive Jennifer Hyman shares her strategy for making the fashion rental model work as retail, restaurants and workplaces slowly begin to re-open.

A Crash Course on The BoF Sustainability Index

A Crash Course on The BoF Sustainability Index

April 2, 2021

BoF’s London editor Sarah Kent and editor-in-chief Imran Amed delve into The BoF Sustainability Index, measuring fashion’s progress towards avoiding catastrophic climate change and achieving broader social imperatives by 2030.

Fashion’s negative impact on people and the planet is in focus like never before. Pressure to change is coming from investors, consumers, regulators and even inside big brands themselves. Companies are responding with high-profile commitments to do better. But are they actually making a difference?

In the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, London editor Sarah Kent and editor-in-chief Imran Amed discuss The BoF Sustainability Index, an in-depth analysis of how 15 of fashion’s largest companies measure up on sustainability.

  • The fashion industry has an important role to play in tackling global sustainability challenges, both because of its impact and its influence. “Fashion often flies under the radar,” explains Kent. “[But] it has power to really change people’s views and behaviours and drive a shift that other industries cannot so easily engage in.”

  • Overall, BoF’s analysis found that the big companies’ commitments are outpacing action. “Some [companies] are leading the pack and some are just getting started, but overall things are not changing fast enough.”

  • While the pandemic remains an immediate crisis for the industry, the climate crisis is increasingly in focus ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference due to take place in Glasgow later this year. “I think what is pretty well established now is the direction of travel that is needed,” says Kent. “What we need to start seeing is the strategies that are going to get us there. Where are the investments going to be made?”

 

Related Articles:

Sustainability: What Brands Are Prioritising in 2021

The Waste Opportunity: How Fashion Could Turn Trash to Treasure

Fashion’s Long Road to Transparency

 

To subscribe to The BoF Podcast, please follow this link.

Join BoF Professional for the analysis and advice you need. Get 30 days for just $1 or explore group subscriptions for your business. 

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